Using mac and windows versions

What I’d really like to be able to do is to put a project in a Dropbox folder and access it both from a Mac and a Windows version of Scrivener. I presume that won’t be possible? But it would make my life close to perfect!

Well, except for the whole part about putting in on Dropbox, this will be possible. There are conflicts with how Dropbox (and similar) products work with a complex bundle format like Scrivener’s that make it unwise to rely upon that technology for live work (storage is another matter, especially if zipped up).

However, the goal is to have full portability between versions. The project format is identical, and even though the Windows version will not have as many features right off the bat, it will retain whatever Mac features have been added to the project.

Excellent. So we can keep our projects in a BootCamp partition and choose our OS at whim!

Wow, I’m amazed that the files will be fully compatible–the files in Mac and Windows seem way too different for that, but then, I don’t know much! But I thought that the new version of Scrivener would be compatible with Drop Box. Isn’t that the case? Or will the Windows version not be?

The new version will offer a special feature which lets you export parts (or all) of your text items to files and folders (much like File/Export/Files), with special organisation and naming conventions that allow Scrivener to monitor these files for changes and update the Scrivener project automatically. This lets you use, among a million other things, Dropbox and applications that interface with Dropbox. It does not imply that anything has changed about putting Scrivener projects on Dropbox itself.

As for file compatibility: The Mac format that Scrivener uses is nice in that on other systems it’s just a folder and files. Technically that is all it is on a Mac too, its just that a Mac the system is set up to treat that folder as though it were a single file. Windows users will have to open projects in a slightly different manner, but that is how both formats will share files.

Hmm, that’s too bad. It seems DropBox also has a problem with MS Word. I use Dropbox for everything, and was really hoping I could store Scrivener on it and work at it from work or at home.

No big deal though. I can always just bring my netbook and keep Scrivener on that and just use that as my writing machine. It’s light and portable enough it’s not a big deal.

The dropbox issues will be seen on any “package” type file that requires synchronized states across multiple files. MS seems to be moving to this method in several of the new office apps. I expect we will start to see it as more developers leverage the MS internals and frameworks that are not well known (look into the new VS to see what I am talking about).

Yeah, what I meant was I’ve also had problems with MS Word and Dropbox not saving or synching correctly. Which is a POA. Was hoping to not have this problem with Scrivener- but, ce’st la vie.

The trick is the 'backup" option in scriv. Not quite as elegant as a live sync, but much safer. There have been suggestions of using a sparse diskimage on Mac, but that won’t help on MS*. An alternative would be to create a diskimage on the MS system (not sure exactly what tool, the ones I have don’t transport well) and mount that on a Mac. That “should” work, but will require DB to sync the larger file and will slow down the sync.

  • A novel idea would be to run a linux vm. Linux would be able to read the sparse via a loop back device and HPFS options in mount. You would then export the FS to MS via SMB. This would not provide realtime sync of live changes, just avoid the need to zip/unzip.

Seconding this.
This is large problem with Dropbox. I use software multi-file with my system on Windows and just gave up on Dropbox. Dropbox corrupts both files on our macs and windows computers…nice idea but isn’t flexible.

Just to clarify…

I keep my projects within subfolders of my dropbox folder. Is this okay to do if I’m just using the one Scrivener platform?

I’ve never had any issues with this method, and never edit anything manually outside of scrivener.


For the Mac version, it’s as well to read this thread: [url]]. (Not sure where the Windows version will stand in relation to this.) I may be wrong about the risk, but as I understand it what you’re doing opens up the possibility that Dropbox syncs to the cloud whilst Scrivener is auto-saving, and then syncs back a corrupted file to you. Better to store a zipped back-up in Dropbox; that’s what I do and I think Keith has stated that this will be even easier with Version 2.


Hi. So I downloaded the Windows beta today. Hallelujah. I’m trying to open a Mac project in the Windows version. First, the .scriv file I copied over to Windows is showing up as a folder rather than a project file, and I can’t figure out a way to open this project in the Windows version. Within the .scriv folder there are a lot of files and additional folders. Nothing there I can open, though I can import many of the txt files, losing a lot of meta information in the process.

I see when I create a project in the Windows version, there is a .scriv folder created for the project, and a project.scrivx file that doesn’t exist in the Mac version, at least not along with .scriv file that I can use to open my project on the Mac.

So it doesn’t seem that the two versions are fully file compatible. Or there is something I’m not seeing. Please help. Thanks.


File compatibility is with the 2.0 Mac format, not 1.x project format. To update your project you’ll need to download the 2.0 preview to update the project first.

Ah. Thanks!

Since the 2.0 OS X version is not yet out, we can’t yet share between windows and mac?

You have to download the 2.0 NaNoWriMo preview for Mac, convert your 1.54 file to 2.0 through that, then bring it over to Windows.

You may also have to actually create a new project in 2.0 for Mac, and just copy everything from the old project to the new one.

I discuss this a little further here:

You should be able to open your 1.x project in the 2.0 preview just fine. It will upgrade the project and create a backup of the original (which will remain 1.x) compatible. The new 2.0 project version will then be fully compatible with Windows.

“You have to download the 2.0 NaNoWriMo preview for Mac, convert your 1.54 file to 2.0 through that, then bring it over to Windows.”

Great, found the download. Wasn’t aware it was released yet. All should be well now!

It might be worthwhile pointing this out clearly on the beta website. I spent half the night copying a large .scriv file from my mac to my pc laptop only to find out this morning - when I’m away from home and from my mac - that I can’t actually use the file.